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Bossi's Best: Three-stars who may surprise as freshmen

Blake Harris
Blake Harris (

The 2017-18 college basketball season is upon us and as teams finish up exhibitions and charity games, some pleasant surprises are already emerging. In this week’s edition of Bossi’s Best, National Basketball Analyst Eric Bossi discusses eight three-star prospects who may be in line to surprise during their freshman season.

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Bossi’s high school thoughts: Allen didn’t really burst onto the scene until the summer before his senior season. He had skill and some Georges Niang in his game because of his crafty style and tweener size for a forward. He was tough to rank because I never had a chance to see him as much as many others in the class.

What to look for: A native of Arizona who finished his high school in Nebraska, Allen is an older freshman who is physically ready for college hoops. Bob Huggins seems to find a diamond in the rough each recruiting cycle and Allen -- who had 15 points and five rebounds in a charity game with Albany -- looks like his 2017 find.

Bossi’s high school thoughts: The first time I saw Gillespie play, I thought he could be a solid mid-major guard and I was a little skeptical of whether or not he was good enough for Villanova. However, when reviewing his senior year film and getting another in-person look, I was struck by his toughness and skill. He was in the final Rivals150 but fell out due to numerous players reclassifying from 2018 to 2017 during the summer months.

What to look for: Playing behind experienced players like Jalen Brunson, Phil Booth and Donte DiVincenzo there won’t be pressure on Gillespie to put up big numbers early. But, he can help out at the point or shooting guard position and there’s been some buzz about him being better than expected.

Bossi’s high school thoughts: I didn’t get to see near as much of Haarms as I would have liked to in high school. A native of the Netherlands, he looked to have good touch but I wondered about the speed of the game at the high major level and how it would work out for him.

What to look for: Haarms will turn 21 before the end of his freshman season and that added maturity will really help in his ability to contribute right away. He looks like a perfect replacement for Isaac Haas and has better touch and fluidity as an athlete than expected.

Bossi’s high school thoughts: I never had any questions about Harris’ athleticism or natural ability. What worried me was whether or not he was stable enough to be a full-time high-major point guard after several high school transfers and summer team switches.

What to look for: Harris already looks to have taken over the starting point guard role for Cuonzo Martin’s Tigers and early reports are that he’s thriving in Columbia. I had the chance to see him in a charity game against Kansas and while he made some mistakes, he looked like he’s going to be a capable playmaker and like he’s fully bought into what Martin wants from him.

Bossi’s high school thoughts: Each year, there’s a couple of players where I feel like something out there is conspiring against me and getting a good evaluation and King was one of those guys for me in the 2017 class. I had plenty of people who I trusted vouching for his ability and the Wisconsin staff can really evaluate. However, I just never seemed to catch one of his good games and for that reason he just missed the final Rivals150.

What to look for: King was very good for the Badgers during a late summer overseas tour and he recently tore it up in scrimmage for the Wisconsin fans. I’m high on his classmates Brad Davison and Nathan Reuvers who were both four-star prospects, but it’s not going to be a surprise if King ends up the best player of a good freshman class in Madison.

Bossi’s high school thoughts: I didn’t get a good look at Nunge until late in his junior year. I liked his athleticism, I liked his skill and I liked his long-term potential. Like Collin Gillespie above, Nunge actually made the final 2017 rankings but was eventually bumped out due to reclassifications.

What to look for: I had thought there was a good chance Nunge would redshirt due to lack of strength but he’s been too good for that early on. He can shoot, he is bouncy around the rim and he should be part of a very productive freshman big-man tandem with four-star Luka Garza. He went for 16 points and nine rebounds in an exhibition win over the weekend.

Bossi’s high school thoughts: The first extended look I got at Wooten -- who signed with Nevada out of high school -- didn’t happen until November of his prep school year. His athleticism jumped out at me and I loved his motor. However, he basically sat out his prep school year so it was hard to get a true read on him.

What to look for: After bailing on Nevada, Wooten committed to Arizona State before opening things up again to land with Oregon. He seems to be a perfect fit for the Ducks style and should be productive on the glass and in their press as he adds to his skill level on offense. Wooten started the Ducks in an exhibition win over Northwest Christian collecting 15 points, six boards and three blocked shots.

Bossi’s high school thoughts: Wright initially committed to Dayton as a high school senior and looked like a good fit for the Flyers. He had some toughness to him, liked to attack and was a willing defender. My worries were his consistency and decision making.

What to look for: When Archie Miller left for Indiana, Wright opened things up and played some in the spring before ending up at Colorado. Word out of Boulder has been that Wright could be a big part of a tremendous 2017 recruiting haul and he looks like the Buffs point guard of the future.